The St. Charles Park District is working hard to be green.
In Feb. 2013, Lauren Kulinski, nature center and programs supervisor, and Kristi Brewer, aquatics and youth programs supervisor, attended the National Recreation and Park Association Green School to learn some of the key factors in establishing a Green Team for their district. In April 2013, the Green Team was launched to help the park district make more eco-friendly choices and operate in more sustainable ways.
General areas of initiatives include purchase and use of environmentally safe and sensitive products; wise use and protection of air, water, soil and wildlife; wise use of energy resources; reduction and handling of waste; open space planning and preservation; and environmental education and interpretation.
In addition to benefiting the environment, going green also promotes fiscal responsibility.
“Though some ‘green’ efforts can have an initially higher cost, they help in the long run to cut costs because fewer resources are being used over time, departments are sharing resources rather than buying multiple copies of the same thing and we’re able to cut costs with trash disposal because we’re not throwing away as much,” Kulinski said, adding the team works to make the staff aware of alternative, green options when possible.
Although many of the green initiatives are internal, on thing St. Charles Park District patrons will notice is the “marrying” of recycling bins to trash cans throughout their facilities.
“Wherever there’s a trash can, we’re trying to make sure there’s also a recycling bin next to it so that it’s easy for someone to recycle rather than throw something in the trash that doesn’t belong there,” Kulinski said.
The Green Team’s mascot is the bee, as bees and their hives are often a symbol of community and working together.
“Bees symbolize industriousness, productivity, teamwork,” Kulinski said. “One little effort, when combined with many other little efforts, makes a huge impact.”
St. Charles Park District | www.stcparks.org